Sonic The Hedgehog (character) - Reception and Legacy

Reception and Legacy

As Sega's mascot and one of the key reasons for the company's success during the 16-bit era of video game consoles, Sonic is one of the most famous video game characters in the world. In 1996, Sonic was the first video game character to be seen in a Rose Parade. Sonic is also the first video game character (later followed by Pikachu) to have a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sonic was one of the three game characters inducted on the inaugural Walk of Game class in 2005, along with former rivals Mario and Link (both from Nintendo). One of a class of genes involved in fruit fly embryonic development, called hedgehog genes, has been named "sonic hedgehog" after the character.

Sonic has also been used as a symbol for Sega's various sponsorships. Between 1993 and 1997, Sega sponsored the JEF United Ichihara Chiba football team, during which period Sonic appeared in the team's uniform. During the 1993 Formula One championship, Sega sponsored the Williams Grand Prix team, which won the Constructors' Championship that year, as well as the team's lead driver, Alain Prost, winning the Drivers' Championship. Sonic was featured in the cars, helmets, and their rivals McLaren used to paint a squashed hedgehog after winning races over Williams. The 1993 European Grand Prix featured a Sonic balloon and Sonic billboards. Sonic also appears on some versions of the willow video store logo. According to a poll conducted during Sonic's height of popularity in the early 90's, the character was more recognizable to American children than Mario and Mickey Mouse.Nintendo Power listed Sonic as their sixth favorite hero, stating that while he was originally Mario's arch nemesis, he seems at home on Nintendo platforms. They added that he has remained as one of gaming's greatest icons. In 2004, the character won a Golden Joystick Award for "The Sun Ultimate Gaming Hero". On October 21, 2008, out of 500 people, Sonic was voted the most popular video game character in the UK with a 24% vote while his old rival Mario came second with 21% of the vote. Then in late 2008, MSN held a poll of who's the most iconic video game character, Sonic was ranked #1 as the most iconic video game character of all in gaming while Mario and Lara Croft were voted less in second and in third respectively. And he was voted 10th out of the top 50 video game characters of all time in Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers' Edition. Sonic ranked ninth on GameDaily's Top 10 Smash Bros characters list. GameDaily also listed his "next-generation stumble" in their list of video game characters' worst moments, using his relationship with a human female as one of the worst parts of it.

Ken Balough, Sega's associate brand manager, said that Sonic's appeal endured because the character is "a gaming legend, first and foremost" who originated "from a series of games that defined a generation in gaming history, and his iconic personality was the epitome of speed in the early ‘90s, pushing the limits of what gamers knew and expected from high-speed action and platforming games."

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